Since news of Sir Sean Connery’s passing shook the world this weekend, many who knew the Scottish actor intimately or in passing are sharing their anecdotes. And few have been as colorful as that of screenwriter Brian Koppelman (Runaway Jury, Ocean’s Thirteen), who took to Twitter to recall the time he and collaborator David Levien had a raucous working relationship with Sean Connery on a nondescript film.
In Koppelman’s telling, the pair were hired to rewrite a script, which was then ordered to be rewritten again to Connery’s specifications after he boarded the project. Working with the star in their modest Manhattan office, the pair and star created a treatment everyone was happy with until an unnamed director got involved. Now many are speculating Brett Ratner is apparently the director Connery wrote off as a “a bucket of smoke.”
“One of the very best working relationships we ever [had],” Koppelman tweeted about Connery. “And then the director gets involved. There’s a tricky action sequence under water, that the director wants to do. We set a call to discuss how to write it, what it should be. Sean asks the director how he’s planning to shoot it. Director says, ‘I’ll use movie magic.’ You could hear the silent anger on Sean’s end of the phone. ‘I started making movies before your daddy started pleasuring himself. I want to know, shot by shot, how you will execute this?’”
As per the writer, the unnamed director and Connery agreed to have an 11am phone call later that week where he would lay discuss the sequence, shot by shot. Yet when 11:15am rolled around on the scheduled day, the writers instead got a call from Connery.
“Sean says, ‘Where the fuck is the director?’ We say, we don’t know. And then, suddenly, we hear a sigh. ‘Ahhh fer Chrissakes! I just turned on the tele and there he is!’ ‘There who is?’ ‘(Director’s name). He’s in a goddamned female player’s box at the fucking French open. I’m afraid, boys, I agreed to do a movie directed by a fraud. You’ve done very well. But I am quitting this thing. Today.’”
The humorous story went viral, and you can read it in its entirety below. Now some, including The Playlist, believe the “fraudulent” director in question is none other than Brett Ratner, the infamous filmmaker behind X-Men: The Last Stand and the Rush Hour movies, and a powerful Hollywood figure who has been accused by seven women, including Natasha Henstridge and Olivia Munn, of sexual assault and harassment.
This is based on industry reporting from 2004 of Connery dropping out of Josiah’s Canon at 20th Century Fox. At the time, Connery raised eyebrows by walking away from a $17.5 million salary on the film, in which he would have played a Holocaust survivor who became the world’s greatest bank robber, and who now was targeting a Swiss bank which stored gold stolen from Jewish families during the Holocaust.
In 2004, Connery was reported as dropping out due to his disgust from working on The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which is at least partially true. After that 2003 film, Connery promptly retired. But it seems a contributing factor may have been his next film was… going to be directed by Brett Ratner.